There are at least four major running trails in the DC area, in addition to the National Mall and various parks, that make it pretty easy to knock out 10-20 mile runs. The trick is whether/not you want to do an out-and-back, a big loop, or take your chances going through the quadrants (SE, SW, NE, NW). The latter usually leaves the mind confused as to how you’ve run through three neighborhoods already and only covered four miles. This District may be dense, but it’s square-mile area doesn’t rank high on the “Big city” list.
Solution: the long group run! I usually tackle the higher mileage solo, but see above. This needed to be different, and it certainly was. Since the group plan was “12”, I got in a good 6-mile warm-up which is great for “settling in” to the run and also breaking it up into thirds. We did an out-and-back route, so my mind just had to think 6, 6, 6 (not superstitious at all).
Running ‘New’ Grounds: Starting from our usual spot in Dupont we headed east passing Logan Circle, Gallaudet University & a few intersections that probably wouldn’t be too safe if you were solo on two feet (just keepin’ it real).
The end goal – run to, and around, the National Arboretum! This is a “446 acre major center of botanical research”, which happens to include miles of road and trail for running, walking, biking or very slow driving.
There were a few of us in the 18-mile camp that day, and this 2-mile break from neighborhood streets, stoplights and early morning stares was just what we needed. Obviously the scenery wasn’t too bad, either!
I’d recommend adding this park into long run in the fall or spring, specifically – in my image-search I’ve seen tulips, changing leaves and a lot of garden space to be enjoyed!
All said and done, we were back at the Dupont fountain just shy of our distance goal but with no Type-As among us to suggest running circles until a watch beeped a clean “18”. Whew. Two and a half hours of running is enough for us to call it good and accept that the summer humidity took its toll!
Up next: an early 20-miler! Solo. Friday morning. I have three days to get creative with that loop.
What’s your favorite way to tackle a long run? I’d love to add in a travel weekend during a training cycle to experience some mileage on another city’s trail system. Suggestions welcomed!